Driver cited for hit-and-run after downing power lines on HWY 97

A Bend man was given a criminal citation for hitting a power line that fell onto a car and fleeing the scene, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. William Bailey said 64-year-old Joseph Zimmer called 911 on Wednesday at around 2:45 p.m. saying he was injured. Deputies arrived at the scene north of Bend on Highway 97 where power lines had fallen and smashed Zimmer’s hood and windshield, Bailey said. Zimmer was taken to St. Charles with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Deputies, along with help from the Redmond Police Department and Oregon State Police, began searching for the vehicle that had caused the power lines to fall.

A trooper with the Oregon State Police located the suspected vehicle, a white International dump truck pulling an excavator, near the Redmond Airport. The dump truck was driven by 55-year-old Stuart Keyte and is owned by Central Oregon Irrigation District, Bailey said.

After investigating, the Sheriff’s Department determined the excavator had caught power lines while the dump truck pulled onto the highway and caused them to fall across the road onto Zimmer’s vehicle.

Keyte knew he hit the power lines with the excavator but left the scene anyway, according to Bailey. Keyte was issued a criminal citation for one count of failing to perform the duties of a driver to injured persons, which is a felony.

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